For over 2000 years, the Catholic Church has proclaimed that every human person has inherent dignity and inestimable worth. Though one of the greatest gifts handed down to cultures and societies across history, this proclamation is perhaps the most audacious the Church announces in the modern world. Amidst the violence and chaos of the world, the Church consistently calls on each one of us to recognize and act in accordance with the dignity of each and every human being, from conception to natural death. Catholic school educators, regardless of the subject they teach, have a responsibility to inculcate this fundamental belief in their students.
Editorial Note: This post is a part of our saint devotion series, in which one of our staff or faculty members explores their relationship with a particular saint. In honor of International Women's Day, we are highlighting female saints this week.
Saints are often most well known for a luminously singular event in the popular imagination—a radiant moment of faith, hope, or charity. For St. Gianna Beretta Molla this moment is surely her insistence that the life of her unborn child be protected and preserved, even at the cost of her own.
An essential part of living a consistent ethic of life is the need to re-humanize the everyday. One might be think, “Re-humanize the everyday?! What we need is the legal protection of the unborn, gun control, the abolition of the death penalty, and sensible, humane immigration legislation!” And one would be exactly right. Our nation desperately needs these sweeping legal changes. Along with this, perhaps even more than this, we need people who live a consistent ethic of life
Throughout the month of October, Catholics celebrate Respect Life Month. As the Body of Christ, we are encouraged to pray and work for the protection of life from conception to natural death. In a culture that is inhospitable to life, that views human beings as disposable, we are called to live out the consistent ethic of life. But what is the “consistent ethic of life?” Quite simply, it means committing oneself to consistently living in ways that uphold the irrevocable worth of every human being. The Church has a long and rich tradition of upholding a consistent ethic of life. The Didache (ca. 2nd century A.D.), for example, describes the Two Ways: the way of life and the way of death. The first commandments of the Way of Life provide Christians with paraenetic, or moral instruction. Christians are called to “give to everyone who asks, without looking for repayment” and are expressly forbidden from committing murder, abortion, and infanticide. These prescriptions are at the heart of Christian life.
The trailers for the Netflix Original, Reversing Roe, suggest that the documentary casts new light on the contentious legal battle over one of the Supreme Court’s most controversial rulings. Instead, it travels a familiar path and ignores whatever lies outside its predetermined narrative framework. The film details much of the legal history since the Court’s 1973 sister decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton; however, over the course of the 99-minute documentary, neither decision is ever actually articulated in its entirety. The film also doesn’t deal with the heart of the legal battle, which is whether or not the preborn fetus is a human being and what society’s responsibilities are to both the preborn and the mother.